One of the best tips I have ever read regarding how to protect children during and after a divorce is from The Effects of Conflict on Children: The High Price Your Children Pay on DivorceHelpforParents.com:
“The most powerful action divorcing parents can take to protect their children is to pledge not to expose them to adult arguments. In fact, here’s an exercise to bring this important concept home. The next time you are about to get into an argument with the other parent, do this.
“Take out a photograph of your children or just create a mental picture of your kids. Look at those sweet, innocent faces and repeat the following:
I know that what I am about to do is damaging to you and is likely to affect you forever. But at this moment, indulging my anger is more important than your well being.’ “
The author also states, “No parents in their right mind would knowingly dose their kids with a bit of poison each day.”
Therein lies a huge problem, doesn’t it? There actually are parents who can look deep into the kids’ eyes and lie, poison, and contaminate without a second thought. There are parents who can smile into their children’s faces, then turn and file yet another motion to sever the kids’ contact with the other parent, tell the kids yet another lie, weave yet another fabrication to bolster the lies they’ve already spewed.
When that person is the custodial parent, how do you protect the kids? All the tips and advice and strategies in the world won’t mean a thing when the parent with the most access to the kids isn’t fazed by hurting them, as long as their own anger, jealousy, pettiness and greed are catered to and gluttonously fed.
It’s frightening to realize how many kids live with, depend on, and innocently trust someone who routinely tosses aside their kids’ minds and hearts in favor of their own selfish wants. It’s even more frightening when those kids are people you love and care about, and when history has forced you to let go of any lingering faith that that parent will mature and realize the damage they are inflicting before it is too late.